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Module ICE-2312:

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1 & 2

Organiser: Dr Mohammed Mabrook

Overall aims and purpose

This module covers the basic elements of electronic and optical physics that will enable module participants to understand the operational principles of modern semiconductor-based electronic and photonic (optoelectronic) devices and systems.

The theory of semiconductors and advanced aspects of microelectronic device technology be will presented, including the characteristics of microelectronic devices such as diodes and transistors under DC and AC excitation. The structure and properties of BJT and MOS circuitry such as inverters and memory components will also be studied.

Students will be introduced to the nanophotonics in the context of integrated photonics and silicon photonic chip technology together with their application to optical telecommunications. They will also learn the principles of light propagation (ray optics and wave optics) photonic waveguide devices such as modulators, optical properties of materials, photonic detectors and light generation, including light emitting diodes and lasers.

The module lectures will be augmented with laboratory sessions, in-class practical demonstrations and tutorials.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  • Review of semiconductors, p and n type doping
  • Charge carrier transpost (e.g., drift, diffusion and generation-recombination mechanisms). Majority and minority carriers and minority carrier lifetime
  • The Hall effect.
  • p-n junction diodes operation explained in terms of energy band diagrams. Derivation of I-V characteristics of diode.
  • Device fabrication technology for microelectronics and nanophotonics
  • I-V characteristics of bipolar junction transistors.
  • Punch-through, avalanche and Zener breakdown processes.
  • Band diagrams for ohmic and rectifying contacts. Role of metal work function.
  • The MOS capacitor. The MOSFET. Frequency response of the MOS capacitor. The mode of operation of a MOSFETs.
  • MOSFET scaling; different scaling methods and the development of FINFETs, MESFET, JFET, Hetero-junctions and HEMT.
  • Basic MOS circuitry, characterisation of inverter circuits; MOS-based memory elements
  • Principles of light, ray optics and electromagnetics waves
  • Polarisation and power reflection/refraction laws
  • Optical interference as related to diffraction gratings, interferometers and resonators
  • Optical waveguides, optical fibres and nanophotonic chips.
  • Photons and the particle model of light. Optical properties of semiconductors
  • Light detection, photovoltaics and solar cells
  • Light emitting diodes, optical gain, population inversion and lasers

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.

Learning outcomes

  1. Illustrate the properties and operation of MOS-based devices, including the fabrication processes necessary for building these devices.

  2. Understand the general principles of light (ray, wave and photon models) and use these to quantitatively analyse and explain concepts such as Fresnel refraction/reflection, diffraction, interference, resonance and waveguide modes.

  3. Related concepts in microelectronics and nanophotonics to explain the operation of semiconductor-based photonic devices such as solar cells, LEDs and lasers.

  4. Explain and analyse the operation of pn junction diodes and bipolar transistors including device breakdown.

  5. Understand and explain the origin of drift, diffusion and generation-recombination in semiconductor devices and critically evaluate their contributions to the total device current.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Laboratories 20
Class Test 1 10
Class Test 2 10
Semester 1 final 30
Semester 2 final 30

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Laboratory sessions for electronic and optical experiments. Includes finite element (e.g., COMSOL) simulations. (3hrs x 3 sessions.)


2 hour lectures over 24 weeks (over two semesters)

Private study

Tutor-directed private study including preparation and revision.


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting

Subject specific skills

  • Identify emerging technologies and technology trends;
  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of electronic engineering in an international context;
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions.
  • Analyse and display data using appropriate methods and mathematical techniques;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of current advances and contemporary approaches in the discipline and have strategies for keeping that awareness current;
  • Knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts, principles & theories
  • Use of such knowledge in modelling and design
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Knowledge and/or understanding of appropriate scientific and engineering principles
  • Knowledge and understanding of mathematical principles
  • Knowledge and understanding of computational modelling
  • Principles of appropriate supporting engineering and scientific disciplines


Courses including this module